COLUMBUS JUNCTION, IOWA – Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., the beef and pork unit of Tyson Foods, Inc., announced on April 20 that its Columbus Junction, Iowa, plant will resume limited operations after being idle for two weeks due to cases of COVID-19 at the plant.
“Our first priority is protecting our team members while they fulfill their critical mission of feeding families across the country during this challenging time,” said Dean Banks, president of Tyson Foods. “We plan to increase production at Columbus Junction gradually, with the safety of our team members top of mind.”
Officials at the pork plant planned to resume operations at the facility the week of April 13, however, after 24 employees tested positive for COVID-19, the company opted to keep the plant closed longer. On April 14, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced 86 additional positive cases were linked to the outbreak at the Tyson plant.
On April 16, the company confirmed the death of two workers employed at the Columbus Junction facility.
Ms. Reynolds also announced on April 20 that hundreds of members of the National Guard will be deployed to help with testing and contact tracing for employees at various meat plants around the state. The Iowa Department of Public Health said there were new positive COVID-19 cases related to Tyson Foods and National Beef plants.